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Looking for genre: the use of structural features during search tasks with Wikipedia.

Clark, Malcolm; Ruthven, Ian; Holt, Patrik O'Brian; Song, Dawei


Malcolm Clark

Ian Ruthven

Patrik O'Brian Holt

Dawei Song


This paper reports on our task-based observational, logged, questionnaire study and analysis of ocular behavior pertaining to the interaction of structural features of text in Wikipedia using eye tracking. We set natural and realistic tasks searching Wikipedia online focusing on examining which features and strategies (skimming or scanning) were the most important for the participants' to complete their tasks. Our research, carried out on a group of 30 participants, highlighted their interactions with the structural areas within Wikipedia articles, the visual cues and features perceived during the searching of the Wiki text. We collected questionnaire and ocular behavior (fixation metrics) data to highlight the ways in which people view the features in the articles. We found that our participants extensively interacted with layout features, such as tables, titles, bullet lists, contents lists, information boxes, and references. The eye tracking results showed that participants used the format and layout features and they also highlighted them as important. They were able to navigate to useful information consistently, and they were an effective means of locating relevant information for the completion of their tasks with some success. This work presents results which contribute to the long-term goals of studying the features for genre and theoretical perception research.


CLARK, M., RUTHVEN, I., O'BRIAN HOLT, P. and SONG, D. 2012. Looking for genre: the use of structural features during search tasks with Wikipedia. In Proceedings of the 4th Information interaction in context symposium (IIIX'12), 21-24 August 2012, Nijmegen, Netherlands. New York: ACM [online], pages 145-154. Available from:

Conference Name 4th Information interaction in context symposium (IIIX'12)
Conference Location Nijmegen, Netherlands
Start Date Aug 21, 2012
End Date Aug 24, 2012
Acceptance Date Aug 31, 2012
Online Publication Date Aug 31, 2012
Publication Date Dec 31, 2012
Deposit Date Mar 13, 2015
Publicly Available Date Mar 13, 2015
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Pages 145-154
Keywords Perception; Skimming; Scanning; Text; Genre; Wikipedia; Eye tracking; Features
Public URL


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